When uncomfortable memories, scenarios, sensations and emotions come up, they are like our poor cousins knocking at our door, wanting to be acknowledged, accepted and allowed. They want to be seen, felt, and loved for what they are, as they are.
And we can do this at each of the three centers (head, belly, heart) and at our two levels (who and what we are, human self and Ground).
At the head center, we allow whatever arises to “come home” by examining our views holding them at bay, and finding the truth in the turnarounds of these views. At the belly center, we do the same by allowing attention to be with whatever arises, in a quietly heartfelt way. And through this, the heart center seems to open naturally to what arises.
In this way, we allow whatever arises to come home at the level of our human self. By not resisting we (a) see that what arises belongs to this human self, and (b) that even if it was triggered by something seen in the outer world, the trigger mirrors something right here. We learn to own our own reactions, and also to own the qualities we see out there, in the wider world, as also in here.
And we allow whatever arises to come home also at the Ground level, recognizing it as awareness itself, as awakeness and form together, inherently absent of an I with an other. It is all life or Existence or the Universe or God or Big Mind manifesting in its form aspect. What appeared as split into an I and Other, is now revealed as already and always free from that split (even when the split appears to be there).
There is a seeing, feeling and loving of whatever arises as me, as this human self, owning the reactions and responses coming up here, and also seeing everything in the wider world as mirrored here. And there is a seeing, feeling and loving of all as life itself, as Existence manifesting, as God, as Big Mind, before and beyond, free from and independent of an overlay of I and Other.
The first one, the owning of it at our human level, allows for a more finely tuned, mature and effective human self in the world. Before Ground awakens to itself, this makes it easier to be who I take myself to be. And after Ground awakens to itself, it allows for an easier way of expressing Ground awake to itself, and also invite Ground to wake up in others. After all, the characteristics and maturity of this human self is what all skillful means boils down to.
From the level of Big Mind (God, Divine Mind, Spirit), all is Big Mind, absent of a separate self anywhere. And within this, when a sense of I and Other is taken as real, there is a split and there is love and hate, attraction and aversion, likes and dislikes. Each of these comes from, and fuels, the sense of I and Other.
And, naturally, since there is a knowing (somewhere) that it is all God, attention tends to go to any discrepancies from this, specifically anything there is aversion or attraction towards.
Or, in an evolutionary perspective, we can say that it makes sense to have attention go to what there is attraction or aversion towards, since attraction usually means something that enhances and supports the life of this human self, and aversion is usually reserved for that which makes problems for our human self (at least according to our stories about it).
Food, shelter, a potential mate, all trigger attraction and attention goes there so I can find and implement a strategy to gain it. Discomfort, pain, a potential enemy or predator all trigger aversion, and attention goes there so I can avoid it, as best as I can.
So even in the midst of attraction or aversion towards something, there is an underlying attraction in terms of attention going there, on its own. And in the case of aversion, there is sometimes even an aversion to attraction going there. We don’t want to be reminded of its existence, for instance when there is an unpleasant memory or scenario about the future, or an unpleasant sensation right now. In short, there is resistance to an experience,
When there is resistance to an experience, the ambivalence between aversion, often propped up by different stories and habitual patterns, and attraction plays itself out. The attraction makes attention go there, and the aversion creates resistance and identification with this resistance.
There is a split here at two levels: At the level of our human self, we resist what is also us. And at the level of Big Mind, Big Mind is resisting itself (at least in its form aspect, as awake void it is inherently absent of resistance).
Since we resist what is already us, at both of those levels, there is also an impulse for it to reveal itself as us. There is an impulse to see, feel and love it as our human self (or, if seen in someone else, as a mirror of what is also here), and as God.
To do this, it seems that we only really need to focus on the seeing and feeling. To see it as me and God, I can explore whatever beliefs I have around it, and find what is already more true for me. In particular, I can find the truths in the reversals of whatever stories I initially attached to around it. And to feel it as me and God, I can be with the images and emotions that comes up for me around it, allowing them fully in a quiet and heartfelt way.
And when there is a seeing and feeling of it as me (in this human self, even if it was initially seen in the wider world) and God (awake void and form), the loving of it as me and God tends to come in naturally.
So here, the three centers of head (view), belly (felt-sense) and heart (love) are included, and also the two levels of this human self and Big Mind. And altogether, there is a sense of coming home, of what is already me and God now also revealed as me and God.
For instance, there is physical pain. With stories about how it is not desirable, and an identity as somebody who should be pain-free, the pain is made into an Other and there is (identification with) resistance to it. This sets up a dynamic of struggle and discomfort. This makes the pain seem very real and solid, and so do our views and resistance to it.
Yet, when I examine my stories about pain, I may find that these are not as absolutely true and valid as they first appeared. I may even find some of the genuine gifts for me in the pain. For instance, it helps me have empathy with others in pain, it opens my heart to them. And it also helps me explore the nature of beliefs and resistance, as I am doing right now.
And when I allow attention to be with the pain, in an heartfelt way, the pain itself changes. What could easily be labeled pain, and seemed very real and solid, when there was resistance to it, changes. Or rather, it reveals itself as it is without the filter of resistance. It becomes a fullness, a quietly sweet fullness, which I cannot easily put a label on even if I wanted. In fact, it cannot any longer really be called pain…